IRONICALLY, Richie Wellens’ weekend touchline ban could’ve been the difference between three points and none for Swindon Town during Crewe Alexandra’s Wiltshire visit.

Wellens was only able to communicate with his players via assistant manager Noel Hunt and goalkeeping coach Steve Mildenhall on Saturday after he picked up a fourth yellow card when Bradford City visited a week earlier.

The 39-year-old Town boss has often snubbed the chance to manage his team from the touchline this term, instead favouring a higher viewing spot in the respective ground’s grandstand.

Wellens’ touchline ban meant he watched the game from the directors’ box. And he identified a major flaw in his XI’s defensive set-up shortly after Chuma Anene bagged Crewe’s equalising goal with an hour played.

He claims it would’ve been hard to pick out the flaw from ground level, due to players’ natural high tempo.

The game-changing tactical switch saw Jerry Yates fill a previously void area between Crewe’s full back and centre back – thus denying David Artell’s side a chance to switch play comfortably amid Town’s deep defensive line, a move that led to the visitors’ only goal.

Wellens explained: “Crewe’s first goal – we were playing three at the back and our two wing backs.

“They pushed Powell up the pitch to pin Rob Hunt back – all of a sudden, their right back is the out ball. We don’t want them to get into our final third with easy possession because they’re a good team.

“The ball was switched out to the right back, we were too deep and they switched the ball. In our situation, we don’t want Lloyd Isgrove to be defending one-on-one 10 or 15 yards from our line.

“We got information down that when the ball is on the opposite side of the pitch (by the Don Rogers Stand) to chop Jerry Yates in between the full back and the centre back.

“And if they do switch it to the full back, Jerry Yates is within good enough distance to affect the game and make him play back into the middle of the pitch.

“Things like that, as a manager, you cannot see from ground level.”

After full time, Wellens marked Town’s win over Crewe as the club’s most pleasing three points all season.

With regular first-team players Mathieu Baudry, Zeki Fryers, Jordan Lyden and Keshi Anderson – plus ex-loan star Eoin Doyle and long-term absentee Dion Conroy – all missing, Town’s makeshift XI were forced to dig deep both physically and mentally for their latest three points.

That’s especially after the Town chief completely scrapped the hosts’ game plan less than two hours before kick-off.

Wellens added: “Saturday was our most pleasing three points of the season, and we got a bit lucky because the system worked okay.

“I will take no credit for going through four or five days training and working tirelessly on it. We literally told players an hour-and-a-half before kick-off.

“I told them that everything we talked about on Friday, forget it – rip it up.

“We started again and gave them a few ideas of what we wanted, especially defensively.

“We did get lucky with the formation, but players took the information on board very quickly and performed really well.”